I was wrong about you, Zap

Chorizo and shrimp pilaf

From the microwave.  No kidding!

From the microwave. No kidding!

(adapted recipe after the jump…blah, blah, blah.)

Ok, if I’m not mistaken, every issue of Everyday Food had a “Zap It” recipe.  It’s a microwave cooking recipe.  I do believe that D and I only made one or two.  Huge mistake.  These recipes are so easy, so quick, and so clever.  I think I always figured that nothing good could come from the microwave or maybe I thought that it would be watery or weirdly rubbery.  I’ve had very, very limited success cooking eggs in the microwave without them exploding all over.  Perhaps I was picturing myself cleaning up exploded chorizo bits.  That is a nightmare scenario.  You’ve got to give me that.  Whatever I was thinking, I was wrong.

So let’s get into this tasty treat.  Rice and other stuff cooked in the microwave.  Very straightforward.  It’s so tasty.  I love shrimp and this was just right.

I do have to talk about the chorizo for just a bit.  The recipe calls for hard chorizo.  I shop at a grocery store with way more Mexican food than the average grocery store.  The meat is labeled in English and Spanish.  There’s a whole wall of dried peppers I’ve never seen before.  They didn’t have hard chorizo.  So you know I wasn’t going to try another place, if this one didn’t have it.  Maybe hard chorizo is more of a Spanish thing.  What they did have was something like five different kinds of the normal, soft chorizo.  The house-made chorizo at this place is nothing to play with.  I love spicy food and that stuff is too much for me.  I thought this recipe would do well with a nice, mild spice.  Plus, I had some fantasy that I would let the baby eat it (D and I wolfed it down).  So I went with a brand that said it was without spice at all.  They were lying.  It was less spicy.  As for cooking it, the recipe says to slice it on a diagonal.  Well, you don’t really do that with the soft stuff.  I just plopped it out of the casing in even sized dollops and was careful not to break it up too much when I stirred it in.  It wound up breaking up during the cooking process and spreading all through the pilaf.  That’s why my pilaf is orange and the one in the magazine is white.  Aside from aesthetics, it doesn’t matter.  The microwaved chorizo was a touch gritty, but it wasn’t anything I couldn’t ignore for the sake of an otherwise delicious recipe.

One side story:  When I asked the guys at the meat counter for hard chorizo, they said they didn’t have it and pointed out the other stuff.  I actually asked them these idiotic words, “What’s the difference?”  The one guy just kinda chuckled and said, “I dunno.  The hard stuff is like…hard.”  Point taken.

Chorizo and shrimp pilaf

adapted from Everyday Food November 2007 Issue 47 p. 74

  • 1 c. white rice
  • 1/2 c. dry white wine
  • 1/4 lb smoked hard chorizo, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced OR a 1/4 lb of the soft chorizo, removed from the casing in even-sized blobs, about 1 T per blob
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and (my least favorite euphemism) deveined
  • 3 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 c frozen peas, thawed
  1. In a shallow 2-qt microwave safe dish with a lid (hello, Corningware!), combine rice, wine, chorizo, oil, garlic and 1 1/4 c water; season with salt and pepper.  If you’re using soft chorizo, be careful not to break it up when you stir.
  2. Cover, and microwave on high until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes, stirring twice during cooking.  Stir in shrimp, tomatoes, and peas; cover and microwave 4 minutes more.
  3. Let stand, covered, until shrimp are opaque, about 3 minutes.
  4. Enjoy, knowing that you have conquered your unfair prejudice against cooking in the microwave.
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